Categories
Review Software

The Crow Hill Company – String Murmurations

The Crow Hill Company is a new audio instrument company led by Christian Henson, formerly of Spitfire Audio and an established filem music producer/sound designer in his own right. I’ve been following Spitfire Audio since their inception and own many of their instruments, the ones I still tend to gravitate toward are the more off-piste offerings, such as their amazing Dust Bundle plugins (the v1, not v2 which sucked in comparison), not to mention their free offerings.
So it was amazing to see The Crow Hill Company following this tangent in earnest, already putting out some VERY interesting and unique paid and free instruments.


String Murmurations caught my ear as I’d stumbled across a little demo of it on their youtube channel and it instantly sounded different to the ‘usual’ orchestral plugins (which obviously have their place, but how many 50+ gig orchestral libraries does one need?).

On installing, the first thing that jumped out was the interface – very clean, fun and inviting-looking parameters and a huge one for me: not hindered by “that” ubiquitous and frankly tired Kontakt wrapper! (I still loath automating params on Kontakt)

Secondly, running multiple voices on this only hits around 9% on my i9 MacBook pro, which seems insanely efficient, considering the sound quality and sample lengths here are both high! Whether this is a result of not using Kontakt and their own backend optimisations, I have no idea, but hats off to them for this, as not everyone has the latest and greatest machines.

With a focus on capturing the subtleties of human performance, SMALL STRING GESTURES really invites you to create music that resonates with your own unique voice, without imposing it’s own signature too strongly.

There’s a real warmth and character of live performance that comes across in these samples, lots of expression and gesture! Which I’m really looking forward to using in my own compositions.

Categories
Ambient Review

Maps and Diagrams – if all will be lost

In this new offering from the ever-consistent Quiet Details – Maps and Diagrams, the alias of the esteemed electronic music veteran Tim Martin, presents a mesmerizing journey through meticulously crafted soundscapes.
Martin’s diverse palette of elements, from metallic tones to ethereal synths and organic field recordings, converges seamlessly, creating an immersive sonic tapestry.
Each track unfolds like a carefully orchestrated symphony, oscillating between psychedelic reveries and serene contemplation.

Categories
Avant Garde Drone Experimental Minimal Review

MINING – Chimet

Crafted from weather data collected during a storm sequence off the south coast of the UK in October 2017, the album is a mesmerizing 74-minute journey through the elemental forces of nature. Craig Kirkpatrick-Whitby and PJ Davy’s sonification of the data, combined with Matthew Bourne’s intuitive piano and cello improvisations, results in a powerful, meditative, and immersive sonic experience. With each note, ‘Chimet’ encapsulates the ebb and flow of the storm, offering a captivating blend of tension and serenity that resonates on a primal level.

Released 8th March via Leaf Label

Categories
Ambient Drone Review

awakened souls – if you feel lost

Surprise package from James and Cynthia aka ‘awakened souls’.
5 tracks of carefully considered drones, created on 6 string bass, synth, guitar, vocals and synth.
Out now via bandcamp

Categories
Ambient Review Synth

Loula Yorke – Volta

Refining her setup and sound, Lou has been beavering away over the border in Suffolk on a more minimalist approach to her compositional process. Channeling early Kosmiche sensibilities, with a modern twist, Yorke conjures mesmerizing, arpeggio-driven realms that beckon listeners into the cyclical embrace of time itself.

Categories
Ambient Electro-Acoustic Review

Sedibus – SETI

Navigating the cosmic expanse, this ethereal odyssey unfolds within the embrace of Orb OG’s Alex Paterson and Andy Falconer. ‘SETI’ emanates both cold darkness and radiance, as if aboard a candlelit spacecraft meandering through the infinite cosmos, where the duo, in communion with acoustic instruments and nostalgic samples, transcend the boundaries between the familiar and uncharted realms.

The journey unfolds as a rootsy, folky, electronic, processed, minimalist, and composerly voyage, defying earthly categorizations. Dr. Paterson, reflecting on the album’s genesis, reveals the organic synergy with Falconer, describing their collaboration as an easy and intuitive exploration of musical ambiance.

Released: 23rd February 2024

Ltd edition blue LP / Ltd edition orange LP / CD / download / stream via Orbscure Recordings

Categories
Documentary Minimal

Tones Drones and Arpeggios – The Magic of Minimalism

Categories
Ambient Beats Documentary Dub Electro Synth

Modulations: Cinema For The Ear (1998)

Modulations is a feature-length documentary that captures a moment in history where humans and machines are fusing to create today’s most exciting sounds.

It traces the evolution of electronic music as one of the most profound artistic developments of the twentieth century. By cutting back and forth between avant-garde composers, Kraftwerk’s innovative synthesizer drones, Giorgio Moroder’s glacial Euro-disco, Afrika Bambaataa’s electro-funk, and Prodigy’s current worldwide superstarstardom, Modulations celebrates, replicates, and illuminates the nomadic drift of the post-human techno sound.

The film examines the kids who have turned the turntable into a musical instrument, disillusioned disco lovers who created acid house out of primitive synthesizers, Motor City mavericks who saw the drum machine as their escape route out of urban neglect, and a generation of British youth who transformed these blips and bleeps into dance floor anthems of their own alienation.

Modulations provides a sense of history and context in which today’s electronic music can be understood. It entertains the converted and remixes the mindset of electronica’s nay-sayers.

Categories
Avant Garde Experimental Minimal Synth

Benge – Forms 16

This is an album exploring the interplay between random events and deliberate human intervention, something which, in the electronic music field, I call cybersynthesis. I saw it’s creation as being analogous to creating pictures using the medium of Watercolour, whereby the various pigments are allowed to flow randomly in water with the hand of the painter guiding the proceedings with an eye on satisfying various criteria. These criteria define the artist’s intention. The work is the result

The music was made on the Serge Modular Paperface system, with most of the modules being made in the early-to-mid 1970s. However, one panel of the nine used is a modern unit formatted to the Serge standard, made by the British synthesiser manufacturer Loudest Warning. This panel was assembled on my instruction, a service happily provided by the manufacturer, and contains cybernetic functions that I felt were lacking in the other modules in my system, but which fit in with the spirit of the Serge. They were designed to aid in the composition of self-generating melodic and rhythmic patterns

These functions are as follows:

Two Gated Comparators, each one slightly different from the other. These modules take in pitch data, and hold it in memory to be passed out at a sequentially gated step, with up to 8 steps. They create a semi-random series of notes and gates and can be used in conjunction with other modules such as the Quantizer

Window Comparator: This takes a clock input and puts out up to 8 new gates based upon a range set by external CV. It can be used to create complex rhythmic patterns which again are semi-random in nature

And-Comparator. This takes multiple gate events and outputs a new gate only if all inputs fire together. It is useful for selectively thinning out complex events into simpler rhythmic events, also known as rhythmic quantizing

The Slope Detector takes any variable CV and generates various gates depending on the rise and fall time of the input

73 EG. A complex envelope generator based on the original Serge design from 1973. It allows voltage control over most parameters and also generates extra gate outputs under voltage control. In cycle mode it can be used as a complex VC-LFO

Having this extra panel added to my system has opened up the compositional potential of the instrument to a very large extent. All of the melodic elements you hear on this album were generated using what I call ‘cybersynthesis’ principles, which is a fascinating area of electronic music that I have greatly enjoyed exploring on this record

Download form Bandcamp includes full colour 10 page PDF booklet!

Categories
Software

Luke Sanger updates Jiffy 16-second looper for Norns


Five years after its inception, Sanger’s Jiffy Looper reaches v.1.2. The 16-second audio looper for the Monome Norns ecosystem is designed to provide a quick and fun looping addition to your app collection.

The recent additions include a complete code overhaul and full midi mapping implementation across all parameters, opening up the usage to those with midi foot pedals and other external controllers.

Fans of Languid Gongue, will already be familiarized with the auditory softcut zones reached by feeding synths into Jiffy whilst manipulating the speed and dub parameters 😉

More Jiffy updates and other new Norns apps are expected from Luke this year. Stay up to date on Jiffy development at llllllll.co and at Github.